Woman Sues After Cops Use Rape Kit DNA to Arrest Her

She reported sexual assault in 2016, was arrested in theft case in 2021
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2022 12:37 PM CDT
Woman Sues After Cops Use Rape Kit DNA to Arrest Her
Attorneys Patrick Buelna, from left, Ty Clarke, and Adante Pointer, who represent a woman whose DNA from a sexual assault case was used against her, speak at their law office in Oakland, Calif., on Monday.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

A woman whose own rape kit was used against her by police now wants some payback. The woman identified only as Jane Doe has sued the city of San Francisco for unspecified damages over the case that made national headlines, reports BuzzFeed. After the woman reported a sexual assault to police in 2016, officers collected her DNA and stored it as evidence. Five years later, police arrested the woman in an unrelated theft case when they say her DNA was linked to the burglary. Over the years, police routinely ran her DNA through the system in criminal investigations, "though police had absolutely no reason to believe that she was involved in any of the incidents," per the lawsuit.

"This is government overreach of the highest order, using the most unique and personal thing we have—our genetic code—without our knowledge to try and connect us to crime," says the woman's attorney, Adante Pointer, per the AP. The theft charges were dropped earlier this year, and then-District Attorney Chesa Boudin denounced the use of the evidence. The city's police department changed its policy to bar the practice, and California lawmakers recently passed legislation to forbid the use of crime victims' DNA in unrelated investigations statewide, reports the Washington Post. That standard already applies to the federal Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS. (More DNA evidence stories.)

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